Strategy. Innovation. Brand.


Broccoli and Innovation

broccoliHow do you stimulate innovation in your business or organization?  The same way you get a kid to eat broccoli.  You can’t get a kid to eat broccoli by pleading with him. Or by cajoling, or punishing, or even by withholding privileges. Telling him to “think outside the box” won’t work either. But you can lead him to broccoli — just as you can lead your business or organization to innovation.  Learn how in the video.






Building Brands by Building Trust

What’s a brand?  In essence, it’s a promise that’s been consistently fulfilled. The promise has been kept in the past and we’ve come to trust that it will be fulfilled in the future. Coca Cola, for instance, has always tasted the same — no matter where or when the product is purchased. We’re confident that the same taste will be delivered in the future. In other words, we trust Coca Cola will keep its promise and we feel safe in buying the product. The brand has reduced risk and uncertainty in our lives.

What’s the essence of brand building? Consistently fulfilling the same promise. If the company behind the brand has many employees who deliver customer services, then they all must understand the brand promise and fulfill it in their daily activities. If they do, trust will be enhanced and the brand will grow. If they don’t, the lack of consistency undermines trust and customers lose confidence in the business. Customers will start to wonder whether they can trust that the brand will fulfill its promises in the future.

Learn more in the video.


Your metaphor or mine?

The world is just too complex.  It’s difficult to understand all the different things that are going on around us.  Some people retreat to conspiracy theories to try to make sense of the world.  Most of us do something simpler: we create metaphors.  A metaphor is simply a way of saying, “the world is like this…”  It simplifies the many complexities and makes the world — and our arguments — easier to understand.

But what happens if my metaphor for how the world works is different from your metaphor?  If I say that life is like baseball, then I’ll probably tolerate a little deceit in life.  After all, the hidden ball trick is acceptable, no?  If you say that life is like a court of law, you’ll probably have a much different view of what’s acceptable.  We could wind up talking right past each other.  Worse, we could get very angry at each other without really understanding why.  It’s not an effective communication tool for business or for romance.  Learn more in the video.

Your frame of reference or mine?

You go to a department store and buy $300 worth of stuff.  To pay for it, you present a general purpose credit card.  The clerk tells you that you can save 10% immediately if you apply for a department store credit card.  From the clerk’s perspective, it’s a very logical argument — save $30 just by doing a little paper work.  Your perspective may be different — it’s one more card to manage, one more bill to pay each month, and so on.  If you’re like me, you’ll decline the offer.  The long-term hassles outweigh the short-term benefits.

What we have here is a frame-of-reference issue.  The clerk’s frame of reference is much narrower than yours.  The clerk’s argument is very logical; indeed, it’s airtight.  But your frame of reference allows more information in and you decline the offer.

To be persuasive in an argument, your communication skills should include the ability to argue logically within your audience’s frame of reference.  To do that, you need to know your audience better than your business or product. Learn more in this week’s video.

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